October 15, 2017

A Special Invitation

 

 

As We Gather:

Whenever we come together for the Lord's Supper, we anticipate the eternal worship of heaven, which the Bible compares to a wedding feast.  The Sacrament is a foretaste of the feast to come.  God invited His people through the prophets.  The description of that Meal includes seeing God face-to-face.  In today's Gospel, Jesus again extends the invitation through His parable, but He notes the varying responses it receives.  Paul leads us to respond with rejoicing.  Knowing that the eternal feast is ready, we may be content in all circumstances.

 

Old Testament Reading:

Isaiah 25:6-9

(There is only rejoicing at the heavenly banquet.)

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.  And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations.  He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.  It will be said on that day, "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.  This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation."

 

Epistle Reading:

Philippians 4:4-13

(Knowing the Lord produces contentment in all circumstances.)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.  The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me.  You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.  Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 

Gospel Reading:

Matthew 22:1-14

(The parable of the wedding feast.)

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come.  Again he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready.  Come to the wedding feast."'  But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.  The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.  Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy.  Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.'  And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good.  So the wedding hall was filled with guests.  "But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment.  And he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?'  And he was speechless.  Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness.  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'  For many are called, but few are chosen."

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